Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fabulous 15: Movies I Just Couldn't Live Without

Asking what my 15 favorite movies of all time are is like asking me to choose a favorite sibling. It can't really be done! There is so much beautiful art in the form of film out there and I am constantly changing and evolving in my taste that it's hard to say just what the best is out there.

In all honesty, I could probably write 15 lists of my 15 favorite movies depending on the day, time of year, or mood I'm in. So I guess today you get the list of what I love right now, January 13th, when I am happily listening to DeVotchKa and madly in love.

So, in no particular order...

1. The Fountain directed by Darren Aronofsky
This film did not receive great critical acclaim, or do very well in the box-office, but is a hidden gem to those with a mind to appreciate it. It's the simple and beautiful idea of death as an act of creation. I think it's without a doubt Hugh Jackman's best performance in a movie yet, and if you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. Be warned: this is not a brain candy, bored-on-a-Wednesday-night movie. Grab some Kleenex and pr
epare yourself for a gorgeous film. (Also as a side note- Clint Mansell, a personal favorite of mine, did the soundtrack. It's to die for.)

2. The Scarlet Pimpernel written by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
Anthony Andrews as the sometimes moronic Sir Percy, sometimes brave and handsome Scarlet Pimpernel, Jane Seymour as the beautiful Marguerite St Just, and of course Sir Ian McKellen as the infuriating Chauvelin... Could anything be more divine? This is a family classic, one I grew up watching and quoting and loving with my sisters. "They seek him here, they seek him there. Those Frenchies seek him everywhere..." Let me put it this way: When Ben quoted this on our first date? I knew it was meant to be.

3. The Royal Tenenbaums directed by Wes Anderson
Hard to go wrong with anything Anderson, though this is by far my favorite of his. A dark comedy about a(n extremely) dysfunctional family with an all-star cast. Each character is complex and relatable and hilarious. This was the first Anderson movie I'd seen, and it still stands alone as my favorite and (in my opinion) his best. Wonderful soundtrack by Mark Mothersbaugh of recurring cello themes, Hey Jude by the Beatles, and of course Elliot Smith.

4. Tombstone starring Kurt Russel, Val Kilmer, & Sam El
It is true that I'm a sucker for a good western, but I really do love this western most of all. Val Kilmer is my absolute favorite part of this movie- he plays the sickly Doc Holliday. The story is that of revenge- Revenge of Wyatt Earp for his brothers against the Cowboys. Watch it.

5. The Young Victoria directed by Jean-Marc Valle
Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend star in this sweet story about the young Queen. It follows their relationship, which is tender and sweet and real. I love the friendship they develop, and the fact that it's all true makes it so much better.

6. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows pt. 1 directed by David Yates
What list of mine would be complete without Harry Potter? All I have to say is- thank goodness for David Yates. He is a fabulous director and has taken Harry Potter in the direction it needed to go. I've already seen this in theaters twice (and probably will again, let's be honest). It's dark, much darker than any of the others. But I love how closely and accurately it followed the book. It leaves you wanting more! July, get here quick!

7. Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back directed
by Irvin Kershner
This is an ode to the nerd in my heart- I LOVE STAR WARS. But I especially love Star Wars V- by far the best of the 3 (I say 3 because they are the only ones worth mentioning). I recently watched this again for the first time in many years and I love it even more now than I did then. Han and Leah finally kiss! She loves him (and he knows)! Luke discovers Vader is his father (imagine that) but still hasn't discovered Leah is his sister (and they kiss-twice! Ew!). And of course, the ever-lovable Yoda, who will forever in my heart be his true self when he's a puppet.

8. Kill Bill vol. 1 & 2 directed by Quentin Tarantino
You could hardly list one without the other- they compliment each other so well. While volume 1 is camp and over-the-top action that Tarantino does so well, 2 is the well thought plot-line, anti-climactic wrapping up of all the "roaring rampage of revenge". Stupendous soundtrack, great action, and girls kicking ass. Enough said.

9. Black Swan directed by Darren Aronofsky
Yes, here's another Aronofsky and another 2010 release, but I can't help it when there is such a stunning film as Black Swan. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis star in this psycho-sexual thriller about a ballerina dealing with the pressures of her new role as the Swan Queen. If you haven't seen it yet, at least do so once so you can see it on the big screen.
Beautiful costumes, music, women, men, and all over film. (Scroll down to read my full review!)

10. The Sleeping Beauty starring Mary Costa
This adaptation of the classic fairy-tale is by far one of Disney's best. With a nod to the original Tchaikovsky music and beautiful animation, this film is divine.

11. Lord of the Rings directed by Peter Jackson
I hardly know where to begin talking about why I love these films. First, it should be known that Tolkien was read to us as children and is therefore very close to my heart. The conceptual designers for LOTR completely and totally captured the essence of what I always imagined as a child and that is why these made it to my list. Superbly do

12. Romeo + Juliet directed by Baz Luhrmann
What human does not love Shakespeare? And what human could not possibly love Leonardo DiCaprio in an adaptation of one of his greatest stories? This film is strange, fast paced, and a modern-day setting of the classic tale, though of course staying true to the way it was written. This movie made a great impression on me as a young girl. Tragic, sweet, and crazy. And of course, what movie would be complete without a ridiculously amazing soundtrack. In fact, you may even see this soundtrack in my top 15 albums of all time.

13. The Darjeeling Limited directed by Wes Anderson
Alright, so I can't just pick one. This is definitely my second favorite Anderson film and if you've watched it, it's easy to see why. A tale of 3 brothers, so like my own sisters and my relationships with them it's downright hilarious. It's touching, it's funny, it's infuriating. Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, and Owen Wilson star in this wonderful story of the mishaps of their "Spiritual Journey" on a train through India.

14. Into the Wild directed by Sean Penn
Emile Hirsch stars as the adventurous Christopher McCandless, burning his identification and money and escaping across the states and eventually to the Alaskan wilderness. The cinematography is so beautiful- simple and intimate. It stirs something in the soul to think about picking up from wherever you are so you can climb to the top of a mountain and get away from the troubles of politics and crime and humdrum of daily life.

15. Beauty & The Beast and Aladdin
Of course with only one spot left and two favorite Disney movies, how could I pick just one? Both are reminiscent of happy childhood days, longing to be a princess swept off her feet by a handsome prince. I'm so glad that I grew up with these movies and
to see that so many new generations of kids love them just as much as I did.

Now, the real question is: What are some of your all-time favorite films?


  1. LOVE this list. I love so many of these movies!

    Romeo + Juliet, Young Victoria, The Fountain (I've watched that one so many times in the last year, it's ridiculous), and I FINALLY watched Into The Wild.

    Oh man... You've inspired me to blog, Kiersten. See what you've done?!

  2. Hooray! This is what I like to hear. :)

  3. WOW. Um, I'm pretty sure I don't need to list my favorite 15 because you've already done it for me! I loved everything you put (with the exception of The Fountain - which I haven't seen and Into the Wild which was good, but kind of a one-timer for me). A few I might add to the list would probably be Sound of Music simply because it's a sentimental favorite, and Sense & Sensibility because I can watch it over and over and appreciate the sublime performances by the entire cast.

    Great list babe!!! Totally loved it, as well as your commentary on each...Everything I want to say is too long to type so I will just call and chat with you about it instead. LOVE YOU BABE! :)